Harriet lowers herself into her arm chair. Everything hurts: over the past few years, Harriet’s been feeling every day of her age. She’s noticed back ache, her legs are shaky and sore, her shoulders hunched. She is old; born in the previous century. And while that seems like an eye-blink ago, it’s really not.
The doorbell rings. Harriet calls, ‘It’s open. Come in.’
Merrie-Belle enters. She’s carrying an opaque Tupperware container. ‘Hi Gran,’ she says, smiling and bending to kiss her on the forehead. ‘I’ve brought cake.’
‘Lovely,’ Harriet says, holding Merrie-Belle’s hands in her own. ‘Put the kettle on. We’ll have a cuppa with it.’
Merrie-Belle busies herself in Harriet’s kitchenette. Harriet closes her eyes and listens as her grand-daughter hums while gathering cups and saucers, and their matching plates, from the tea set she was given as a young bride. A few minutes pass, and Harriet opens her eyes. On the coffee table Merrie-Belle has placed a pot of Earl Grey tea, and two slices of lemon tea cake. The cake is still warm and aromatic; its sweet lemony scent wafts and Harriet breathes in deeply.
Yes, she is old. But she’s lived a good life. She’s been happy, loved and protected. Bert was a good husband; she was widowed over a decade ago and she still misses his presence. But it’s moments like this, when her grandchildren visit to share morning tea and their lives with her, that she feels alive again.
Harriet smiles at Merrie-Belle. ‘I love it when you visit me.’
‘Me too, Gran.’